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Sonntag, 17. November 2019

Review: Mierce Miniatures' Ophios




Time for another miniature review, I say. Returning to Fantasy I'd like to talk about a miniature which is kinda close to my heart and use it to take a closer look at the offerings of Mierce Miniatures on the whole.





Mierce Miniatures have been around for a few years now. As far as I know they emerged from Maelstrom Game who towards the end of their days came up with a remarkable range of Fantasy monsters named Banebeasts, fully made of resin. Shortly thereafter Banelords was added (32mm heroic fantasy figures). As Mierce Miniatures appeared as its own brand, the existing figures were tied together a bit more, and a fantasy setting was written for them. All this resulted in the Darklands setting and subsequently a rules set.


The Darklands setting seems to be well thought out. It's set in 650AD and in this basically 'Dark Ages' setting merrily throws together all sorts of mythological and fantasy creatured. I never played the game myself, but it's also been around for a while now and is kept 'alive' by regular Kickstarters for new figures, and so on. 

However, to me the thing about Mierce Miniatures is the monsters.

Many years ago I painted one of their first monsters released (the mighty Chimera, the Terror of Fortriu) as a commission job, and was immediately taken with this amazing creature. Ever since then I have an answer for when someone asks what my favourite monster miniature was.



Only the most cold-blooded of state troopers 
volunteer for size comparison work on these monsters.

Please excuse the painting and photography. I would absolutely love having another go at this great model.  (So if you have one of those lying around, feel free to e-mail me. My prices are resasonable. 😉 )


Now let's get into the review proper and have a look at the new miniature: Ophios, Gorgon of Khthon.


The Box and What's in It


The model arrived in a small cardboard box, the single parts came wrapped up in bubblewrap. Pretty basic, but effective packaging. None of the delicate resin parts came damaged.

Here they are all spread out on the cutting mat:

The end of the tail actually was a separate piece as well.
I got a bit overexcited and glued it on right away!

Cleaning and Assembly


After a good scrubbing and clean-up it's time to look at the parts. Extremely clean casting, very, very little in terms of mold lines. Especially on the snake body of course I was a bit concerned, but I barely could see any mold lines on that one. A tip top quality resin cast.

The only slightly iffy clean-up happened around the ends of the sword handles, as the bits of gemstone at the ends are cast into the sprue. Not much of a problem either. The resin is high-quality. Not all too brittle, not too bendy. 


There are no assembly instructions included. However, the way the separate hands and the one separate arm are designed in such a way that it's pretty much impossible to get them glued on in the wrong way. The torso fits the snakey lower body only one way as well, and for the sheathes of the swords  we find nubs and holes on Ophios' hips, so we get the positions right. 

Thus, assembly was a breeze. When assembled the figure measures 62mm from the bottom to the top of the miniature, 55mm from foot (ehem..) to eye.


Painting



Painting the guy was really fast as well, mostly because it was so darned enjoyable (also: I was really, really strapped for time). For the first few painting steps I kept the upper and lower torsos separate. I had a look at a whole lot of pictures of snakes and snake skin patterns online, looking for something to do with the snake body.

In the end I went with a variant which can be seen in a very popular stock photo of a python and adapted it a little. In was in luck; the first try pretty much worked out well, and I went on from there. I kept the sword sheathes off the model until the very end.

Done!


Three days later I called him done, mostly due to time constraints.


To create a bit further distance between my Ophios and the excellent studio paintjob I didn't only use a different snakeskin approach on the lower body, but also made his hair to be black rather than blond. This little change immediately prompted several commentors on- and offline to ask if he was a relative of Conan's. That was certainly not intended. I get that he's basically a generic beefcake Fantasy dude, but that's basically it. Not to mention the snake-body and the four arms.




In the end I did a get-by base until I'd be able to make a bighuge proper scenic one. It's just the 60mm round base that comes in the box, without all too much bells and whistles, not the least because the body fills out almost all of the base anyway!



Verdict

Once more Mierce Miniatures made me realize why I like their monster sculpts so much. The price is rather premium (GBP 40.00 plus shipping for this model, the Chimera shown above goes at GBP 120.00 by now), but they're worth it. Flawless casting, imaginative and skilled sculpting, good quality resin.

Of this specific guy you can also get a variant wearing a corinthian helmet (at the same price), and a version of the guy I got, plus angelic wings at GBP 49.00.


If I was to look for downsides - I can't find any in the miniatures. The names of the figures and factions are deeply entrenched in celtic, gaelic and other ancient languages (including outlandish spelling), so only the initiated of the world of Darklands won't have trouble navigating the vast online store.

The sculpts which emerged over the many productive years of the company sometimes are of different styles. To me they're hit and miss. While personally most human-sized figures leave me a bit cold, I love some of the monsters. Others are less for me. But that's certainly preferable to a range which leaves you entirely 'meh', or entirely enthused (which is always suspicious).

I say it's absolutely worth checking out their store though. I'm convinced that most Fantasy wargamers will find something in there which tickles their fancy. He would make a great Slaanesh daemon Prince as well as a generic baddie.



I hope that you enjoyed this review, found it interesting, enjoyed the painting and so on. If you have any questions, comments or indeed commission inquiries, feel free to let me know via the comments section, the Battle Brush Studios Facebook page or via e-mail.

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